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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Parents lose right-to-life appeal
Charlotte Wyatt
Charlotte Wyatt is said to have made "remarkable progress"
The parents of a brain-damaged baby have failed to overturn a court order that rules she should be allowed to die if she stops breathing.

Darren and Debbie Wyatt, from Portsmouth, presented a letter at the Court of Appeal from doctors saying Charlotte has made remarkable progress.

The 22-month-old has serious lung, brain and kidney damage.

Doctors at St Mary's Hospital, in Portsmouth, won the legal right not to resuscitate her last October.

We have the hearing in the autumn when all the evidence will be heard before the court and we are very optimistic that at that point the declaration will be dismissed
Mr and Mrs Wyatt's solicitor, Richard Stein

Mr and Mrs Wyatt's solicitor, Richard Stein, said: "They are pleased that the court recognised Charlotte's continued improvement.

"The doctor called her improvement remarkable and one of the judges called it astonishing.

"We have the hearing in the autumn when all the evidence will be heard before the court and we are very optimistic that at that point the declaration will be dismissed."

Despite Mr and Mrs Wyatt losing their appeal on Thursday, the three judges at the Court of Appeal said that a review of the case - originally scheduled for October - should be brought forward to look again at the order.

'No error of law'

Mr Justice Hedley, who granted the original order, had said he did not believe "any further aggressive treatment, even if necessary to prolong her life, is in her best interests".

Charlotte's parents challenged that decision in April but failed, leading to the latest appeal.

On Thursday, after a full-day hearing, Lords Justices Laws, Wall and Lloyd ruled that Mr Justice Hedley had "made no error of law" and rejected the Wyatt's appeal.

On the steps of the High Court in London, Pat Forsythe, Portsmouth Hospital Trust spokeswoman, said: "It is not a case of winning or losing.

'Signs of improvement'

"Our doctors and nurses, who have spent so much time caring for Charlotte, share the pleasure of her parents that she has some sense of sight, some sense of hearing and that she is showing signs of improvement with her breathing.

"However, Portsmouth Hospital Trust is content that the Court of Appeal today has upheld the right of our clinicians not to ventilate Charlotte if they judge it would not be in her best interests.

"We would assure her parents, the courts and the public as a whole that indeed our doctors and nurses will continue to give Charlotte the best possible quality of care for the foreseeable future."

Reaction from both sides following the ruling

Baby joy for Charlotte's parents
22 Apr 05 |  Hampshire
Baby 'should be allowed to die'
21 Apr 05 |  Hampshire
Q&A: The Charlotte Wyatt case
08 Oct 04 |  Health

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